Several years ago when I was still a classroom teacher, I stumbled across the following video from students at PS22 in New York:
The video served as an inspiration to my students, as well as me. It was amazing to see an educator reaching and engaging students on such a deep level. The performance captures students trying to create a better world through music. I found out that the chorus is from PS22 Elementary School in Staten Island, New York, directed by a wonderful educator named Gregg Breinberg.
We are fortunate this week for Gregg to join us and share his insight.
5 Questions with… Gregg Breinberg
- What do you most want your students to take with them from your classroom, school or district?
I want my chorus members to continue to apply the work ethic needed to achieve their phenomenal performances towards whatever life-course they choose to pursue. They’ve had unique opportunities of seeing that hard work rewarded in huge ways, and I hope that work ethic carries over into future endeavors.
- What are the most rewarding and/or the most frustrating aspects of education?
The most rewarding aspect of education is awakening a part of a student’s being and witnessing self-actualization. I do this through music, quite literally helping a student find his or her own voice. But of course all teachers have these moments within the context of the subject areas they teach. It’s especially gratifying having a part in these moments with students who lack confidence or self esteem.
- What advice would you give to young teachers?
Don’t be discouraged by the onslaught of ever-changing curriculum and methodologies. Don’t let them stifle your creativity just the same way you wouldn’t want your students to stifle theirs. Discover what you have to offer to make your classroom unique and their classroom experience memorable.
- What has influenced your career the most?
I was lucky enough to have an administration that allowed and encouraged my creativity to elevate my program to heights no one could have imagined. I designed my own style of music education and was allowed the freedom to do so. If more principals allowed for their teachers to implement their own creativity, teachers would be more passionate, and education would be far more meaningful for the students.
- As an educator, what are you currently focused on?
My focus is always for my students to put passion into their work, and I think you can see that in the PS22 Chorus performances.
Here is an additional performance of “People Loving People” by the PS22 Chorus:
Gregg Breinberg is the Chorus Director at PS22 in Staten Island, New York. You can find more information about the PS22 Chorus on their facebook page: http://facebook.com/
Help fund PS22’s music classroom: